Susan M is one of a number – a hundred perhaps, maybe more, I call them The Faithful – people who have been reading me a long time, first through my books, and then through the blog. These people have a kind of hallowed status for me, they have been patiently following my life for more than a decade, sometimes longer, and they write me every now and then to remark on my evolution – or failure – to evolve as a human being.
They see my successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses, and are not afraid to comment on any of those things. We are like a close and trusting family, we will never turn our backs on one another, and they have seen it all, poor things. I think there is nothing they could see that would cause me to turn a way, nothing I can do or write that would turn them away from me.
I respect them and listen to them, they have never abandoned me and I will never abandon them. And even thought they are bounded and thoughtful, I graciously accept their advice and observations and even their intrusions. They have earned them.
Sometimes I can answer them, sometimes not, but they want nothing from me other than to be honest and happy and successful. Even I can't quarrel with that.
I am deeply, and truly touched that these people – their messages are always thoughtful and compassionate – have stayed with me for so long. Today Susan wrote me to thank me for writing about my granddaughter Robin's impending visit, about our undocumented friend Camilla's search for refuge.
"I applaud you and Maria for trying to provide solace and help for Camilla – thank you for yet another thought-provoking and heartfelt post. Your heart is wide open…" Susan.
I think Susan is right. My heart is wide open these days. I credit Maria for opening it some years ago, the heart surgeons for opening it up quite literally several years ago, and lately, Mr. Trump for opening it wider. I bear no hatred or contempt for the man, I hope he is a successful President for the sake of the country, and that he one day tries to unite us, but in the meantime he has challenged me to decide just who I am and who I wish to be.
More than anything, I wish to be a man with a merciful and open heart in a time when so many hearts have turned to stone. Robin has, of course has opened my heart further, but I have no wish to be over the wall or over the top in my love for her, despite the many messages I get telling me that has happened.
It is good just where it is, it really doesn't need to go a lot farther. That has been a good lesson for me in life. Sometimes where you are is precisely where you need to be.
The residents of the Mansion and the refugees and the millions of mostly hard-working illegal immigrants have touched my heart deepest of all, except for Maria. After all, Robin does not need me as much as Camilla does, she is loved, well cared for and content. The Mansion residents are appreciating some help, and that is the thing about help: it helps.
They have opened my heart and they keep it open. Their love and trust is soul food for me.
One woman wrote me yesterday, she hadn't read the blog for a while, and she told me I had changed, and become a different person. I thanked her for that, but I also told her that I don't believe anyone can ever become a different person. We are not light bulbs that can be unscrewed and replaced.
At times I am better, at times I am worse, I am a work in progress, I hope I will never see myself as being done.
Our souls and spirits are not transferable, they cannot be wiped clean and discarded. I am not a different person, that is not possible, I am the very same person trying to learn and grow, and where possible, change. I don't trust anyone who claims to be a different person, I think all of us can be a better person than we are. That is the miracle of being human, no dog or horse or elephant or squirrel can set out to do that.
Living with Maria, I think my heart will never close again.
I thank you Susan, for your thoughts about my heart, it was good to hear from you again, and I hope you are well. I am grateful for you. I think of my heart as being like a proud and vintage car. A lot of work has been done it, and sometimes, on the road, it runs wide and open.
It's a good feeling for sure, free and uplifting and full of promise.